Movies to watch if you’re stressed about the school year

Back to school is a stressful time for everyone. What to wear, what to study, what to say are just a few of the millions of questions that run through our minds every 10 seconds. Whether you’re worried about having someone to sit with at lunch or making the grade to pass, here are 10 movies to remind you that the school year will be OK. In fact, it might even be great.

Mean Girls

Mean Girls may best be known for giving us some of the greatest catchphrases of any film in the past 20 years, but it also gave us a glimpse into what it really feels like to be a girl in high school. Spreading rumors, gossiping about other students, and lying to your friends, teachers and parents saw Lindsay Lohan’s Cady go from Queen Bee to school pariah. It wasn’t until she realized that to have good friends you have to first be one that Cady understood there was more to high school than sitting at the right table in the cafeteria. And Mathletes is totally cool.

Dead Poet’s Society

Not all of us are lucky enough to have our own John Keating at the front of the classroom encouraging us to seize the day and make our lives extraordinary. Thankfully, we have the Dead Poet’s Society to watch anytime we need someone to remind us to carpe diem.

Easy A

High school is often the place where we first learn the rules of dating, which are that there are no rules and no one is really sure what to do. For Emma Stone’s Olive, helping a friend who was still in the closet by pretending to sleep with him seemed like a nice idea in the beginning, but eventually left her as the school outcast. At her darkest point, Olive realizes two things; one, it’s okay to help others as long as you don’t hurt yourself in the process and two, the people you want in your life don’t care about the rumors.


So like, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation or anything, but even though Clueless came out 20 years ago it’s still one of the best movies to watch when you’re feeling down. At first glance, Cher Horowitz may seem to have the perfect life, and for the most part it’s pretty awesome. But when you’re a 16-year-old virgin who can’t drive, and your friends have turned their back on you, and you just got a C, and you’re more concerned with what you’re wearing to class than what you’re studying, it might be time for a makeover of the soul. On the surface, Clueless was about rich kids in Beverly Hills, but it was much more than that. It was about trying to find your place in high school. What could be more relatable?

The Harry Potter series

Maybe the closest any of us will get to visiting the real Hogwarts is in Florida. Maybe we don’t get assigned our courses by a sorting hat. Maybe our Quidditch games are played on the grass and not in the air. But if there is a better series about feeling alone and different and finally finding your place at school with friends and dedicated teachers, we haven’t seen it.

Mona Lisa Smile

School is supposed to be about opening your mind and learning about yourself and the world. In Mona Lisa Smile, Julia Roberts teaches a group of women in the 1950s that their future is theirs to decide. Much like Dead Poet’s Society, we all need a Katherine Watson in our lives.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

It’s pretty difficult to not have a good time when Ferris Bueller is around. The 1986 comedy is a great reminder to stop and smell the roses, take a day off, perform in a parade, and never loan anyone named Ferris your dad’s Porsche.

Pump Up The Volume

Being young can often feel like being voiceless. In 1990, a little movie called Pump Up The Volume showed us the power of one person, one microphone, and one idea; that being young and in high school doesn’t mean your opinion isn’t important.


Teen pregnancy has always been a taboo subject, but Diablo Cody’s 2007 film starring Ellen Page as spunky, sarcastic, and confident Juno showed that what may feel like the worst thing to happen to you doesn’t have to be the thing that defines you.

Pretty In Pink

At this point you might be thinking hey, where’s The Breakfast Club? How can a list of movies to make you feel better about school not include The Breakfast Club? Well, it’s in here. Consider The Breakfast Club number 10a. Really, most John Hughes movies are a great remedy for anyone suffering from school sickness. The Breakfast Club was so great that sometimes I worry Hughes’s other movies, like Pretty In Pink, get overlooked, which is why I’m including it here. Pretty In Pink’s main character may have been Molly Ringwald’s Andie, but it was Duckie, the nerdy kid from the wrong side of the tracks (literally) who stole the show. Duckie was awkward, ignored, and was searching for his place in the world. In the end he may not have gotten Andie, but we like to think that Duckie found his ‘people’ later on in art school.

[Images via Paramount]

Filed Under